Raf Simons Throws a Rave—and Shows His Most Grown-Up Clothing Yet

Raf Simons was supposed to show his Spring/Summer 2023 collection during London Fashion Week back in September, almost certain to be a highlight among the solid schedule of Burberry, Halpern, and SS Daley. But Simons decided to cancel his show following the death of the Queen, and announced that he would instead unveil the collection during the Frieze art fair in October.

“It’s been a dream for a while to show in London—a city where fashion and creativity are omnipresent in the streets, and where I see exceptional people with a strong, unique style,” the Belgian designer, who usually shows in New York City and Paris, said in a brand statement back in July. “I’m extremely excited that this dream is becoming a reality now.” Simons has long had a fascination with Britain, and more specifically its music scene. A peach vest from his Spring/Summer ‘96 collection was screen-printed with David Bowie’s Aladdin Sane album cover, whhile for AW’01 Simons added more Bowie patches, alongside those bearing Manic Street Preachers and Joy Division on sweatshirts. He has also worked with the legendary art director Peter Saville, perhaps best known for creating the identity for Manchester acid house mecca the Haçienda.

Last night, a new club night opened its doors as over 1,000 guests flocked to the Printworks, the sprawling South London venue. The warehouse, a former newspaper printing press, was filled with the deep thud of techno, while strobe lights sliced through the concrete chamber. One question on everyone’s mind, though: where the hell was the show going to take place? Printworks is a vast space, yet there wasn’t a catwalk in sight. Instead, the venue was set up for a rave with a lengthy bar lining one wall. An hour in, the bar was stripped of its polyester sheeting and a catwalk was unveiled. Then the venue was plunged into darkness. The bar was drenched in light and Simons’ show began.

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